The executive committee of the National University of Singapore (NUS) Students’ Union told students on Sunday (21 Apr) that justice “needs to consider both the victim and the perpetrator, and needs to be proportionate”.
In response to this statement, former NTUC Income Chief Executive Officer & ex-Presidential candidate – Mr Tan Kin Lian – believes that we should consider the other side of the story.
He made a Facebook post on Monday (22 Apr) explaining that we should not jump to conclusions without understanding the full picture.
Here’s what he said in full.
As news of the NUS peeping tom incident made headlines, there are many who think that the perpetrator deserves a harsher sentence.
This began with Ms Monica Baey’s Instagram story that exposed the perpetrator as she felt that the punishment he received wasn’t enough.
Following that, 2 petitions were started to call for greater sanctions.
The first petition calls for “stiffer punishment” and has currently garnered over 26,000 signatures. While the second petition requests that NUS “reopen Monica Baey’s” case has accumulated over 10,000 signatures.
As the general sentiment seems to seek greater punishment for the male student involved, Mr Tan responds by asking what penalty is most “appropriate” for this scenario.
He also brings up the death penalty as an exaggeration to prove his point.
Mr Tan continues to explain that even though we need to “condemn sexual harassment and take appropriate measures”, the general public does not have “enough facts” to “ask for harsh and disproportionate penalties”.
Ultimately, he believes that we need to “respect the decision taken by the people in charge, who have to consider the facts”.
He concludes by saying that any rude comments will be deleted, but that he welcomed a constructive debate.
Understandably, netizens were split on the issue.
A netizen quotes Oscar Wilde as he believes that the punishment was adequate.
One other netizen says that Ms Baey will be scarred for life. Therefore, proportional punishment should be given to the offender.
Mr Tan may have a point about society upholding the verdict of the school.
Furthermore, Ms Baey identifying her perpetrator publicly won’t be legal in Singapore soon. The act of posting personal information online without the individual’s consent – aka ‘doxxing‘ – will soon be illegal if an update to the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) is officially passed.
Penalties like a fine of up to S$5,000 or a 6 to 12-month jail term could be on the cards for would-be internet vigilantes who uploaded the male student’s personal information.
Ironically, even without stricter punishments, his ‘exposure’ online could spell the end of a penitent young man’s future. Maybe there is a kind of poetic justice in that.
What do you think? Tell us more in the comments.
Featured image from Facebook.
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